I don’t believe anyone gets up in the morning and thinks, I just can’t wait to see how many people I can make miserable today. I often say that hurting people hurt people.
Most of the pain and anguish we receive from other people is a result of their own pain. When someone is miserable, it inevitably comes out somewhere—and it usually comes out on somebody.
The truth is, we’re never going to be able to prevent people from saying or doing things that hurt our feelings. We will always have opportunities to get offended. But if we do things God’s way, we can choose to save ourselves a lot of misery and hardship.
This doesn’t mean we allow people to abuse us. No, there is a time for confronting people and dealing with situations. However, the Bible commands us to love our enemies and forgive those who have wronged us.
You may consider some of the people in your life and think, Joyce, that’s impossible!
Believe me, I’ve been in your shoes and I know how you feel. But everything the Lord asks us to do in the Bible is ultimately for our good. In fact, when we choose to love our enemies and forgive those who have hurt us, we are actually helping ourselves more than anyone else.
So, how do you love the people in your life who are hard to love?
Well, I believe a good place to begin is to stop thinking, “I can’t!” Because whatever the Lord commands us to do, He is going to give us the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish it—and that includes loving and being good to difficult people!
I personally believe that showing loving to someone who doesn’t deserve or expect it is absolutely one of the most powerful things we can do. Because in that moment they see God...and He’s the one Who can truly change their hearts.
Believe the Best
First Corinthians 13:7 says that ...love is ever ready to believe the best of every person....
When someone hurts our feelings or offends us, we have a choice. We can think, You did this on purpose just to upset me! Or we can choose to believe the best and think:
Well, they must be having a difficult day and probably didn’t even realize they were being rude to me. Maybe something difficult is going on in their life. It most likely has nothing to do with me.
I know that I desire for others to show me a lot of grace of mercy and give me the benefit of the doubt when I’m having a bad day or hurt their feelings without realizing it. No one is perfect, and we can all use a little room to be human.
Pray for Yourself
I don’t know how many years I prayed for God to change my husband Dave. In my mind, he was always the problem. Thank heaven, I finally learned the importance of adopting a humble attitude.
Now I pray more like this: “God, I would like for you to change Dave. But Lord, I may not even see this right—I may be the problem. God, first deal with me if I need to change.”
As we humble ourselves and ask the Lord to change us, it’s amazing how it will transform our relationships and our attitude toward others.
Pray for Others
It’s easy to give someone an ultimatum like, “If you don’t change your ways, I’m leaving you!” They may change for a while, but their bad behavior will eventually come back because their heart hasn’t changed.
We should pray that God will help people to be all He wants them to be and do all He wants them to do. Pray the Lord will help them get to the root of their problems and realize when they’re hurting other people.
I truly believe that we can use kindness as a weapon to overcome the meanness in people. Because God’s love flowing through us is strong enough to melt even the hardest hearts.
Let Them Out of the Dog House
Is there someone in your life who is difficult to love? If so, take a few moments to pray for yourself and them right now. Then choose to begin putting the following principles into practice.
1. Believe the best (1 COR 13:7)
2. Pray for yourself (MATT 7:3-5)
3. Pray for them (MATT 5:44)
4. Be ready to forgive (EPH 4:32)
5. Cover their sin (1 PET 4:8)
6. Don’t gossip! (PROV 11:13)
7. Bless them with your words (EPH 4:29)
8. Help them if they need help (LUKE 6:27)
9. Don’t gloat when they have trouble (PROV 24:17)
10. Treat people the way you want to be treated (MATT 7:12)
We do not need to strive for power or hope to have power someday; we have power now! The same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in us (see Rom. 8:11) and we can be quickened (filled with life) by that power. This is not a onetime filling that slowly drains out of us as the days go by, but we can be filled day by day and even moment by moment. We can constantly and continually experience God’s presence and power in our lives. When we belong to Him, there is never a time when His power is not accessible to us.